Sena and Cardo may have the comm system market mostly wrapped up, with some smaller players like UClear also around, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for new ideas here. That’s what MPlus hopes, anyway, with its crowdfunding for a new headset design.
Instead of clamping to the exterior of a motorcycle helmet, or fitting into the lining, the MPlus is a collar that you wear loosely around your neck, with a pair of earbuds and a detachable boom mic that extend upwards. The earbuds sit under your helmet, the boom mic sits in front of your mouth (inside the helmet in case of a full-face helmet).
The collar itself has two mics built in as well, which can sense your voice as well as integrating with the MPlus noise cancellation system. Cleverly, MPlus has designed its system with five-level noise cancellation. Settings range from standard ambient noise levels (hearing noises as quiet as a whisper) to the highest level of cancellation, which only allows louder noises like sirens or horns.
The advantage of this design is obvious, as the problem CMG testers have always had with current in-helmet comms is that you’ve got to absolutely crank the sound if you want to hear music or intercom voice and still wear earplugs. Even then, once you pick up speed, it can be difficult to hear the comm set over wind noise.
The MPlus device has integrated Bluetooth capability, and can connect to other riders up to 150 meters away. That’s nowhere near the range offered by other comm set manufacturers, but it may prove to be not that different in real-world use. Of course, that distance should work just fine for rider-pillion scenarios, too.
The MPlus system is also designed to function as a standard headset when off the bike.
For more details, visit the MPlus Kickstarter page. MPlus is already way over its fundraising goals, so hopefully this means we’ll see working systems on the market soon enough.
I use something similar from sony (torc unit with headphones, though no boom mike, no comms). I rather like it for listening to music, hearing phone notices. In ear headphones are pretty decent at blocking road noise too.
But I found that the neck unit is a bit of a pain with my jacket collar. Do a shoulder check and hit your volume, or mute button. Or redial (sorry Mom!)
Still, the form factor is one of the better I’ve used for in helmet music.